Anze Kopitar could be in for a big week.
The Los Angeles Kings‘ No. 1 centre scored a crucial overtime winner Tuesday night, giving his club a 2-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks, and now his contract situation may finally be cleared up.
According to reliable Kings insider John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor, who cites “multiple sources close to the negotiations,” Kopitar and GM Dean Lombardi are very close to wrapping up a new eight-year contract, the maximum term allowable under the collective bargaining agreement.
If Kopitar were to explore free agency, he could seek seven years at most from another team.
Hoven tweeted the working terms of the deal last week, projecting an average annual value of about $9.75 million, which would place Kopitar’s cap hit just behind those of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane ($10.5 million each) for the NHL’s highest.
“He’s everything we covet as a King,” Mike Futa, L.A.’s director of hockey operations, told Hockey Central a month ago. “It’s too close to not get it done.
“Anytime we write out our core and what has made up successful, the first name we write down is our C1, Number 11.”
Kopitar, 28, is in the seventh and final year of a $47.6-million pact that carries a $6.8-million salary cap hit.
According to the site, Kopitar and agent Pat Brisson were originally believed to be asking for $10 million to $11 million per year. Brisson was responsible for securing Kane and Toews’ monster extensions with the Blackhawks in July 2014.
“I’d like to stay an L.A. King, and I’m pretty sure the Kings would like me to come back,” Kopitar told Sportsnet before puck dropped on the season.
Through 24 games, Kopitar has eight goals, six assists and a plus-12 rating for the Pacific Division–leading Kings.